Irish Interpol officer honoured

An Irish Interpol officer who led a worldwide hunt for a paedophile who videotaped himself abusing kids on the web will today be honoured by senior gardaí.

French-based Det Sgt Michael Moran will receive an Excellence Award from members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) at its annual conference in Athlone.

The officer spearheaded last year’s Operation Vico, which led to an international public appeal to identify an man sexually abusing children on the internet.

A 32-year-old Canadian was later arrested in Thailand after Interpol experts unscrambled swirled digital images that obscured his face in the video tapes.

Det Sgt Moran, who is currently a criminal intelligence officer at Interpol HQ in Lyon, will tonight accept the award from AGSI president Paschal Feeney in the Sheraton Hotel.

The award citation said: “Michael’s work illustrates his continued commitment to the policing ethos of protecting the community through excellent police work and dedication to his role.”

Det Sgt Moran worked in several garda stations around Ireland before joining the Dublin-based Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit in 1997.

He developed expertise in investigating internet-based child exploitation and later moved to the Computer Crime Unit at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

In 2006 he was seconded to Lyon where he took up his present position with the Human Trafficking section at Interpol specialising in child sexual exploitation online.

His duties include management of international networks of officers working in the field including an Interpol working group on crimes against children.

He also works on the Interpol Child Abuse Image Database and contributes to various international operations, including Operation Vico.

Last year’s Excellence Awards honoured Co Cork officer John Liston who was stabbed while apprehending a mentally ill man who later knifed himself to death.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and AGSI general secretary Joe Dirwan will also address today’s conference.

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